Asustek’s Windows 7-based Eee Slate EP121, which went up for pre-order in early January, briefly became available on Amazon earlier today before going out of stock. According to Liliputing’s Brad Linder, his Amazon Affiliate records confirm that the EP121 tablets ordered by some of his readers have already been shipped. Prices are $999 and $1099 for the 32GB and 64GB SKUs, respectively.
Asus is marketing the Eee Slate EP121 as the “world’s most powerful tablet device.” Indeed, the 12.1-inch Windows7 tablet does pack a serious punch with its laptop-esque specs: a dual-core Core i5-470UM processor clocked at 1.33GHz, up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 32GB or 64GB solid-state storage. Its four-cell battery is said to last 4.5 hours on a single charge, with continuous 1080p video payback reducing that number to 2.4 hours.
If you're wondering what the frak "Super Alloy Technology" is, don't worry, we had the same puzzled look when heard about Asus' new GT 440 graphics card. Here's how Asus explains it:
"The Asus GT 440 includes Super Alloy Power technology, featuring a special alloy formula used in power delivery components such as capacitors, chokes and MOSFETs. It instantly lowers average operating temperatures up to 35°C, extends product lifespan 2.5 times, and improves overall performance up to 15%. This gives users access to greater overclocking potential, as the G440 can withstand higher operating temperatures than its reference counterparts."
Savvy? Let's move on. Asus' factory overclocked GT 440 sports an 822MHz engine clock and 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 3200MHz on a 128-bit bus. Other specs include 96 CUDA cores, D-Sub output, DVI-I output, HDMI 1.4a compliance, and a funky looking cooling solution.
It's probably not fair to call ASRock an underdog anymore, if it ever was. Asus gave birth to ASRock back in 2002 with the intent of going toe-to-toe with ECS and other vendors in the entry-level market. Here we are nearly a decade later and ASRock is now the third largest motherboard maker in the world, DigiTimes says.
ASRock shipped 8 million of its own branded motherboards in 2010, leapfrogging both ECS and MSI to take third place, albeit a somewhat distant one.
Ahead of ASRock is Gigabyte, which shipped around 18 million of its own branded boards in 2010. And up in first place is who else but Asus, which missed its goal of shipping 25 million boards last year but retained the top spot by cranking out 21.6 million mobos.
Getting back to ASRock, the company has been able to attract a following by offering big feature-sets for comparatively low prices. The company also isn't afraid to take design risks, as it first did with its 939Dual-SATA board back in the day. This inexpensive board was the first to combine both an AGP and PCI-E port on the same board without introducing a significant performance penalty.
The Asus ENGTX 560 Ti DirectCU II is that once-rare bird: a factory-overclocked card at the beginning of a GPU's life cycle. Once upon a time, you wouldn’t ever see an overclocked graphics card. Then they started to appear—usually when a particular generation of GPUs neared the end of its run. Today’s hyper-competition between AMD and Nvidia now dictates that overclocked cards come out of the woodwork as soon as a product launches. If it’s an epidemic, it’s one we like, because manually overclocking graphics cards is a headache and generally more perilous than CPU overclocking.
With its iteration of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti, Asus decided to revamp its DirectCU cooler. Like previous iterations, this second generation DirectCU II runs the heat pipes in direct contact with the GPU, rather than relying on a dissipation plate to transfer heat to the pipes. Asus suggests this is a more efficient way to move heat away from the chip’s hotspots. As with most modern premium graphics cards, Asus uses high quality components throughout, which increase the longevity of the card while minimizing electronic noise that can interfere with image quality.
Talk about awful timing. With the recent launch of Intel's much anticipated Sandy Bridge platform, we imagine a good number of DIY system builders have already begun mapping out their next system overhaul. That's fine and dandy, but be sure to set aside a little extra for the motherboard.
Chewei Lin, general manager of Asus' motherboard division, says that his company made the decision to raise quotes for mobos, according to DigiTimes. The decision wasn't made out of greed or to cash in on Intel's new platform, but to cope with the labor shortage in China, the falling NT dollar, and higher material costs, particularly copper, Lin said.
How this all shakes out in the retail market remains to be seen, and Lin claims this won't affect the consumer side too much, but as far as contract quotes go, industry sources expect motherboard prices to jump 5-10 percent on average, and up to 15 percent in some cases.
Park the hearse, cancel the appointment with the funeral director, and don't print the obituary, because netbooks are here to stay. Or at least that's the case if Asus has any say in the matter (and the company does).
Asus will continue to blitz the netbook market in 2011 by launching three to four brand new Eee PC models, which are in addition to upgraded versions of existing models already on the market, DigiTimes reports. By the end of the year, Asus plans to have shipped six million netbooks, claiming a 20 percent share of the market.
Eee PC business GM Samson Hu indicated that it's tough to predict what impact tablet PCs will have on netbooks sales, but that won't deter Asus from shipping as many netbooks as it can. Given the slow roll out of tablets in general, that's probably a safe bet.
We’ll be honest: We’ve had the most hands-on time with Asus’s new P8P67 Deluxe board of any P67-based board this cycle. That’s because Asus sent a functioning board to us far before its competitors (including Intel) did, and as such, we conducted the bulk of our Sandy Bridge chip testing with the P8P67 Deluxe board.
Usually, early boards mean soldered-on wires, unpredictable performance, and hiccups that are often a consequence of very early hardware. None of that was true of the P8P67 Deluxe board. Out of the box, it offered rock-solid stability and its performance was excellent across the board.
Once upon a time, factory-overclocked graphics cards with custom coolers shipped a few months after the reference cards were out. So, you’d typically end up with a pricier, slightly faster graphics card to replace the one you might already own—not a particularly cost-effective scenario.
Today, we’re seeing some customized cards ship at nearly the same time as reference cards. So it is with the Asus EAH6850 DirectCU. Asus takes its DirectCU feature, which runs the heat pipes directly across the GPU chip, pushes the clock speeds up slightly, and ships the card for roughly the same price as a stock HD 6850. Asus also bundles its voltage-tweak utility, which lets you change the voltage and push clock rates even higher, if you like.
Asus Chairman Jonney Shih demonstrated four new tablet devices at the company’s CES press conference on Tuesday, including one model that runs Windows 7 Home Premium.
The Asus Eee Slate EP121 features an Intel Core i5-470UM dual-core processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 12.1-inch LED-backlit IPS multi-touch display delivering resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, and either a 32- or 64GB SSD. The EP121 comes with a Wacom digitizing pen with handwriting recognition and a virtual keyboard. It can also be controlled by a Bluetooth keyboard. The Slate features an integrated 2.0-megapixel camera.